Khanh the Killjoy

Not taken with the Taking

The Taking - Kimberly Derting
This was Tyler Wahl. Tyler, who looked far too much like his older brother—my seventeen-year-old boyfriend—in looks, in stature...and, most of all, in age.
Tyler, who, the last time I’d seen him just the day before, had been only twelve years old.

This is the story of a special (and different) girl who got abducted by aliens, only to awaken five years later to fall in love with her boyfriend's 12-year old brother.

Who is now 17. But really, does that make it any less creepy, man?

The Summary:

"They’ve done something different to you—to make you special.”
I was still attempting to process what he’d just told me. About me being different from everyone else.

16-year old Kyra has just finished her softball game. She is a brilliant player, being scouted by multiple prestigious universities. Kyra doesn't give a flying fuck about all the other universities. She is in love with her childhood best friend, Austin. They've been in love since they were young teenagers, they're neighbors, they've been dating for years. Kyra wants to spend the rest of her life with Austin. Her dad thinks differently; in an argument with him over Austin, Kyra runs out of the car...and vanishes.

Kyra wakes up behind a gas station. She doesn't know how she got there, but she decides to go home. But it's not home anymore...The man who opens the door is not her dad.

“I don’t know what you’re problem is,” he hissed, trying to keep his voice low. “But this is my house, and you’re scaring my son. If you need help, then call 9-1-1. I can’t do anything for you.”

Freaked out, Kyra runs next door, into Austin's arm...or so she thought. Only it's not Austin. It's Tyler. Little baby Tyler...

...pipsqueak Tyler, who used to follow us around the house, intruding on conversations and telling the same annoying jokes that we used to tell when we were his age


I tried not to look at how defined his bare chest was. Tried to keep my gaze from moving lower and noticing his muscled stomach and his navel, which was surrounded by a tuft of dark hair.

Austin who?! What's better than your 17-year old boyfriend?! His little brother! Who wants a 21-year old man when you can have a 17-year old boy?! YEAH!

And man, is he primed for seduction!

"You should know I’m glad you’re back.” He flashed me a sheepish smile as he added, “And now that I’m older, I’ll try to be a little more memorable.”

Way to usurp your big bro's girlfriend, man!

Austin who?

So now poor wittle Kyra's got a brand new family, she's lost five years of her life, but who cares, when she's got all-grown-up Tyler making googly eyes and staring at her?

We stood there for a moment, our eyes locked. It was too long, and we both knew it, but neither of us looked away, and then it was way, way too long. I’m not sure if it meant something, or nothing, and I hated how badly I wished I could see inside his head, to read his thoughts. But eventually my cheeks got hot, and I blinked first.

Austin who?

Who cares about her dad going insane and becoming an alcoholic because of her disappearance, when the consequences mean that Kyra and Tyler can spend heartbeats looking at each other feeling like fainting goats?

I saw a show on Animal Planet once about these fainting goats whose muscles froze up when they were startled, and they passed out. Like, they literally fell over if you scared them.
That was me, right now.
We stood like that for fifty-five straight heartbeats.

Austin who?

Oh! There's Austin. Only it's been five years, and he's, like, so old now. Not to mention he's got a girlfriend. But it's Tyler who makes her heart go pitter-patter now despite what she tries to tell herself.

Besides, on top of everything else, Tyler was still just Austin’s little brother. Too young to be anything more than a friend.

If I stopped lying to myself for even a second, then maybe there was a part of me where Tyler mattered more than he should.

Austin who?

Who cares if there are Men In Black from the National Security Agency following her when she's thinking about Tyler?

His green eyes, his new deeper voice, the way he teased me, his disarming smile. I couldn’t stop thinking about him.

Ins't that sweet? She remembers Tyler before his voice broke. Just adorable.

Austin who?

I mean, who's got time to think about the strange guy with copper eyes who's been following Kyra around all over the place when she can't stop comparing how much BETTER Tyler is than Austin. At everything. Even at opening car doors. Who knew there was such a specific way of opening car doors to make it extra-special. Just like Kyra.

He got out and came around to my side, opening my door and waiting for me. No one had ever opened my car door like that, not even Austin.

Who cares about the fact that aliens abducted her and returned her, that she's now extra-special? Who the fuck cares about her powers, when it's clear as the light of the hovering UFO that Tyler is the reason she came back. Not anyone else. Not her family. Not her friends. Not Austin (Austin who?). Not the government. Not her new group of friends.

Just Tyler.

I’d never been so alive, and I knew this was why I’d come back. To be here, right now, in this moment, with Tyler.

Austin who?

Bros Before Hos:

“Don’t pretend you didn’t know I had the hugest crush on you, Kyra. It wasn’t my fault I was only in the seventh grade and you barely noticed me.”

Also known as THY SHALT NOT COVET THY BROTHER'S CHICK, MOTHERFUCKER. Tyler, you are SO fucked up, man. You're lusting over your big brother's ex-girlfriend, the one to whom you now a cougar. Such a sweet hit line.

If you’re worried that I think you’re too old for me or something, I’m not.” He directed his gaze back to the road, but he was scowling now. “It’s not a big deal, Kyra. Really.” His lazy smile made a fleeting appearance. “I kinda like the whole cougar thing you’ve got goin’ on.”

Dude, I know she's hot, but man, she dated your BROTHER. There's got to be some kind of awkwardness about that. Austin and Kyra were together for years. They were best friends as well as lovers. Kyra snuck into Austin's bedroom every night, Tyler KNEW this. He still covets Kyra knowing what Kyra meant to Austin. What Austin meant to Kyra (apparently not much considering she forgot him 5 minutes after she saw the almost-all-grown-up-Tyler). All the emotional ties. All the secrets, the love. And you expect Kyra to forget about all the years that she had with Austin the instant she sees you?

Well, apparently, she does, but that's not the point!

Tyler is so fucking smooth. He's got this while seduction thing planned out. He draws beautiful artwork for her on the driveway on several mornings.

Tyler had drawn a cobblestone pathway that stretched all the way from one side of our street to the other, bridging our two houses, practically from my front door to his. And running across the top of the pathway was a saying, written in beautiful, scrawling script. It said:

I’ll remember you always.

He gives her his favorite old books.

My phone buzzed again. "I’m saying I want to share one of my very favorite things in the world with you, Kyra."

He pretty much does everything he can, full-stop, to make Kyra his.

“You like that? I like to pull out the big guns when I’m trying to make an impression.”
My eyes lifted. “Is that what you were trying to do, impress me?”
There was a beat, a moment in which our eyes met and my heart leaped, and then his voice dropped, feathering my skin and making me shiver. “Of course I am, Kyra. I was sort of hoping you understood that.”

Which is cute, but it really doesn't disguise the creepy level.

PEDOBEAR APPROVES: My little sister is 10 years younger than me. She has a lot of guy friends. I've known her little guy friends from grade school to this day. Some of them have grown up well, tall, handsome, smart, charming, exemplary young men.

Am I ever attracted to any of them? Will I ever be?


Yeah. Let's not forget that Kyra's known Tyler since he was practically a toddler.

I’d known Tyler his whole life. I’d been to all of his birthday parties, teased him when he had a lisp because he lost his front teeth, walked him to school on his first day, pushed him on the swing set until he cried mercy because it was too high, and built snowmen with him on snow days.

No, thank you. *shudder*

Kyra, the Special Girl: Kyra is very, very teenager. Which is to say she is self-centered, egotistical, and only sees what she wants to see. She is selfish, she cannot comprehend the fact that the fucking world doesn't revolve around her.

Ok, so it's been five years since Kyra disappeared. Did she want the whole fucking world to stay the same? Yes. You heard me. It's one thing to know that teenagers can be so ego-centric, it's another thing to read about one who makes me want to motherfucking punch her every other page.

Kyra expects the world to wait on her hand and foot. She hates the fact that her mother is remarried, to a kind man that Kyra now refers to only as "THE HUSBAND," her new little brother? "The kid." "The brat." That is, when he's not...

...the brat who’d stolen my mom.

It's a little baby! A little baby who can't even hold his own spoon and eat in a normal manner, which Kyra goes to mock, naturally. Because god help us if a toddler makes a mess while eating!

I’d already offended her and The Husband that morning when I’d implied that, perhaps, he needed more practice with a spoon as more of the oatmeal had fallen off it than made it to his mouth.

Her boyfriend, Austin, has moved on. He is now dating Cat, her best friend. Both former. They didn't mean for it to happen, but five years have passed; they were friends already, and they grew closer after Kyra's disappearance. And they're both trying to be friends with her again, but that's not how Kyra sees it!

The only two people I thought I’d wanted to talk to were now the enemy, camped out together and colluding against me.

I know it hurts, but there is a reasonable way for a character to get my sympathy. I want to take my sympathy, freeze it into a brick, and smash it into Kyra's face. Kyra can't really comprehend that people have a right to move on BECAUSE IT'S BEEN FIVE FUCKING YEARS.

So let's see, she came back after five years. Everyone's paying attention to her, pampering her, watching out for her...and still, Kyra feels like...

I bet I could implode, disintegrate into ash on this very spot where I was perched in my hospital gown on the edge of the bed, and no one would even notice.

Are you kidding me? You don't think everyone's looking at you and trying to figure you out and trying to get you to open up, bitch? Kyra somehow feeeeeeeeeeels that Tyler, hot Tyler, little Tyler is the only one who cares.

She snaps at everyone. The slightest comment from her ex-boyfriend regarding her ex-best friend Cat asking about her makes her snap.

“Cat misses you,” Austin said at last, clearing his throat loudly.
And with that, any nerves or worry that I might not say or do the right thing evaporated. Older, yes, but still just a stupid boy who said stupid things when he opened his mouth. “Cat? Really? You drove all this way to talk about Cat?”

The only one whose actions mean anything to her at all is Tyler. TYYYYYYYYLER.

The fact that he was here, standing outside my window and asking me how my day was, almost made me cry. No one else had bothered to ask how I was. He was the first person who wasn’t pulling me at both ends, like I was a rope in a tug-of-war.

Bullshit. Both her attitude and this book.

Austin who?